Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Three Cows Shot Me Down!

This has to be one of the most charming images the great Neal Adams ever concocted. It's the cover for a trade reprint of the famous Avengers epic the Kree-Skrull War. There is apparently some meager and mild dispute between Roy Thomas and Neal Adams about who created what during their brief tenure together on the storyline, but there's no dispute that Adams wanted to title his first issue of the epic "Three Cows Shot Me Down!". Instead the much more dramatic "Beachhead Earth" was substituted by Roy "The Boy". (Many of the story titles in this classic saga had titles which were variations of vintage sci-fi epics.)

When those classic stories were collected in 2000, Adams was commissioned to draw a new cover and he at long last got his wish by adding this scene for the weirdly attractive cover of the Vision just before he bursts through the doors to drop "dead" at the feet of the Big Three. Neal is uncertain if the scene is to be read as the Vision or the Big Three are seen in reflection, but it works either way. Given the Vision's ghastly nature I prefer to think of him as the reflected image.

I do notice that in the originals for this scene, the Vision is given a strange Cockney accent with him dropping the "H" on the word "Help". It's an odd image, but overall, one I find strangely fascinating.

Oh and the three cows (as if anyone needed to know) were actually three of the original Skrulls the Fantastic Four battled way back in their second issue, hypnotically commanded for the safety of mankind to assume the form of cows and end their days chewing their cuds.

from Fantastic Four #2 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and George Klein
They got better.

from The Avengers #93 by Roy Thomas, Neal Adams and Tom Palmer
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